It is vital that humans get sufficient vitamin D as it assists the body in the uptake of calcium. Vitamin D is important for bone growth, and vitamin D shortage can result in rickets, amongst others.
Vitamin D is created in the skin when exposed to the sun’s UV-B radiation. However, in Denmark, vitamin D is only created in the summer time, when the sun is high on the sky. In winter time, Danes need to meet their vitamin D requirements through their diet, and presumably also through their body’s own storage of vitamin D.
Storage of vitamin D
In his PhD project at the National Food Institute, Anders Burild studied changes of stored vitamin D under various input conditions. The studies were undertaken in minipigs fed a vitamin D-enriched diet or exposed to a lamp which mimics sunlight.
Amongst others, his studies show that the content of vitamin D in fat and skin decreases when UV-exposure ceases. These findings led to the development of a mathematical model for minipigs which describes changes in vitamin D concentration in blood and tissue after exposure to UV-B radiation or intake of vitamin D through feeding.
Increased knowledge about vitamin D status in humans
In addition, the PhD project included the development of new quantitative analysis methods for vitamin D, which can be used to further explore the vitamin D status in humans and animals.
Knowledge about the body’s storage of vitamin D is extremely sparse. Increased knowledge about storage of vitamin D and its contribution to the vitamin D status, e.g. knowledge about the level of vitamin D in the body in winter time, may help optimise the vitamin D status in Danes all year through, and help reduce shortage of vitamin D.
Anker Engelunds Vej 1
2800 Kgs. Lyngby